I hope the worst part of the Zero Carb detox phase is behind me. It’s probably lasting longer than most since I’m dealing with complicated health issues like Chronic Lyme and methylation defects hindering my body’s ability to process toxins (more on this later).
I thought I found the perfect place to heal Lyme and MTHFR mutations: the Sponaugle Wellness Institute. But upon further research, none of Dr Sponaugle’s therapies include a dietary approach to these disorders (I was told they’re looking into it) or any type of oxygen/ozone therapy. To my knowledge it sounds like a minimum two months of weekly lab work and brain scans and daily IV supplementation (all paid out of pocket). Even if I could afford to visit, no treatment would prevent me from getting Lyme in the future. I couldn’t imagine paying tens of thousands of dollars only to contract Lyme from a pet, walk in the park, by blood transfusion, organ donation or even sexual transmission.
I’ve scheduled an appointment with a functional medicine doctor – my first ever, so I’m extremely excited. She was recommended because of personal experience with Lyme, and because she discussed the methylation process in detail during my friend’s appointment. Why is methylation such a big deal? I’ll let Dr Lawrence Wilson answer that question.
Methylation processes occur in hundreds of essential chemical reactions in our bodies. To give you an idea of their importance, here is a small sampling of them:
1. Detoxification. Methylation is a primary method of removing toxins in the phase 2 liver detoxification system of the body. More precisely, methylation converts toxins of all kinds from insoluble, less soluble or fat-soluble compounds into water-soluble compounds. This, in turn, allows the body to eliminate them more easily.
Methylation, in this sense, is somewhat like first tagging toxic substances and then altering them in a way that allows the body to identify them as toxins, and then to eliminate them rapidly and simply. Larger molecules are then able to be eliminated through the bile, while smaller ones pass into the bloodstream and are removed by the kidneys in the urine.
2. Neurotransmitter synthesis and utilization. Methylation is part of the synthesis of dopamine andserotonin. This is one reason why taking trimethylglycine or TMG can help a person relax. However, relaxation may also occur because TMG assists with liver detoxification.
3. Protein synthesis from our genes. Methylation is a key step in the formation of our enzymes and proteins. This process is called genetic transcription. It involves first making a copy of a section of DNA, which is a strand of RNA. This is the blueprint, as it were, for our proteins. Then the body uses this blueprint to put together the exact proteins that are needed.
4. Protects the body’s telomeres. Methylation is involved in the preservation of the body’s “tails” on its DNA and chromosomes that are called telomeres. For much more on this interesting subject, and its relation to nutritional balancing science, please read Telomeres on this website.
5. Folate metabolism and cardiovascular health. Methylation is involved in converting homocysteine, which is a dangerous amino acid when in excess, back into methionine, an essential amino acid. This, in turn, is converted to other amino acids in various biochemical pathways.
About 50% of the earth population appear to have genetic variants of the MTHFR enzyme causing them to have some difficulty resynthesizing methionine from homocysteine. This can be a factor in cardiovascular disease, mental illness such as depression, and perhaps other health conditions such as fatigue and exhaustion.
While doctors may tell you the problem is “genetic” and therefore incurable, our evidence is that it is not incurable. The problem with the RNA can be due to toxic metals such as copper and mercury, that somehow interfere with genetic transcription, or the “writing” of the RNA from the DNA. For much more on this subject, please read MTHFR Defects on this website. In other words, the problem is not due to defective DNA, which would be hard to change. It is due to zinc deficiency and other problems involved in the copying of the DNA. For more on genetics, read Genetic Defects And Nutritional Balancing on this site.
6. Hormonal regulation. By assisting the liver and for other reasons, methylation is involved in balancing hormones, such as restoring the proper balance of estrogens, for example. This helps reduce the tendency for cancer and for many other health conditions related to a hormone imbalance.
7. Reduces inflammation. This occurs for many reasons. Among them are toxin removal, hormone balancing, neurotransmitter synthesis, and others.
8. Helps protect the mitochondria. By protecting the mitochondria, methylation helps adaptive energy production greatly. Without adequate methylation, one becomes very tired.
9. Restores the level of SAMe in the spinal fluid and elsewhere. SAMe or S-adensylmethionine is a common chemical found in the body. It functions as a methyl donor once it has been restored to functioning by the action of methyl groups. It can be given as a supplement to prevent depression, and it has other mental and physical effects on the body. It is quite costly, so we do not use it and instead we use other methyl donors such as trimethylglycine or TMG, folate, methionine, cysteine, taurine and others.
10. Required to make coenzyme Q10. This vital substance is needed for heart health and for energy production within the mitochondria.
11. Tends to increase muscle mass. This can be important in wasting diseases such as cancer, and for general health. This aspect of protein synthesis aided by extra methylation is widely known in the livestock industry. Methylating agents are added to some animal feeds.
12. Other. Methylation reactions are very common in the body and involved in most body functions, to some degree. This is why compromised methylation can cause or contribute to almost all health conditions. Most people today have inadequate methylation, so this becomes a very important subject.
I recently had one of my worst migraine experiences – bad enough that I considered going to the emergency room. Now you need to understand that in order for me to even consider leaving my cool, dark bedroom to go to visit a fluorescent-lit nightmare my pain has to be excruciating. After less than stellar ER experiences in the past, I vowed it just wasn’t worth going. But the creature trying to crawl its way out of the top of my skull was doing its best to convince me otherwise.
Looking back through my calendar I’m reminded that when I returned home from my recent trip to Austin, I felt like I was smacked in the face with allergies. I woke up with a sore throat, sneezed a ton, and my nose was running non-stop (mucus stayed clear). I had no cough, but my daily headaches were worse than usual. I felt better by the third night, but a terrible migraine was closing in. Two days later, when the worst part of the migraine was over, something strange came out of me when I went to the bathroom. (No descriptions or photos, but I will say that whatever it was or once was, I’m glad it’s no longer relying on me for survival!)
Besides expelling the monsters inside me that way, I’ve also been eliminating toxins through my skin in the form of a Prurigo Pigmentosa rash. Sweating definitely exacerbates the rash, but I need to move my body. As you can see in the following photos, the rash is mostly in the hyperpigmentation phase (lighter brown versus bright pink).
Even though my rash is still lingering, as I’ve mentioned before it’s not as intense or itchy as when I was in deeper ketosis (over 3.0mM – with Zero Carb I’m staying under 0.8mM).
Zero Carb Day 60 Measurements:
Left thigh: 23″
Right thigh: 22.5″
I’m looking forward to meeting my new doctor and finding out the causes of remaining health issues. I hope functional medicine gives me the answers necessary to create a better life for myself, and those around me.